Jacob: chosen for rivalry

Cover to Cover

Reading: Genesis 24:1-25:34

Focus: Genesis 25:19-26

With the days of Abraham behind us, we move to the next generation of the Promise, Isaac and the birth of his sons, Jacob and Esau. One of the standout features of the story of Genesis, reflected in the birth account of Jacob and Esau, is its detail on the future. In this instance, it is the relationship of the brothers; as the brothers wrestled in the womb, Rebekah sought God for understanding:

Two nations are in your womb,
  and two peoples from within you will be separated;

one people will be stronger than the other,

  and the older will serve the younger.

In one sense, it is troubling to know what the future holds and, yet, it also gives one a sense of peace. The story which plays out over the following chapters (in the next reading) begin to see this relationship play out. Further, in the greater scheme of history, the relationship sets the foundation of the relationship of their descendants. All in all, this story is nothing short of God’s sovereignty over history expressed in a, somewhat, tangible form.

The relationship between Israel (Jacob) and Edom (Esau) is just one of many dramas of God’s sovereignty as revealed to Rebekah. Why did God choose Jacob over Esau? Well, no one can say with certainty, but what we can say is that God’s plan saw Jacob as the vessel through which history would unfold. Jacob’s life is full of tension and rivalry; yet, in the overall schema, each aspect of his life would play a significant part in the future.

As I stand back and recount this story in view of history, I cannot help but be amazed at the details of a sovereign God. The details which allow the strangest of events and twists in one’s story to become significant turning points for a future unknown to us. Who knows how the struggles of today will play out in the future to come; how was Esau to know that his indifference to his birthright was foreseen at birth and would subject him and his descendants to a life in the shadow of his brother?

Next Reading: Genesis 26:1-29:30